Tips & Strategies for the Boston College 2017-2018 Supplemental Essay

October 23, 2017

Applying to Boston College? Here are the supplemental essay prompts and tips on how to tackle them:

Among all the universities and colleges located in the Boston area, Boston College stands out as a private Jesuit Catholic university located in Chestnut Hill, MA. Its religious affiliation is embedded in the university’s teaching philosophy and student body, which makes the liberal arts education of the diverse student body of different religions all the more interesting and challenging.

Students can apply to study in one of the 4 schools and colleges that offer undergraduate programs: Morissey College of Arts & Sciences, Carroll School of Management, Lynn School of Education, and the Connell School of Nursing. If BC is one on your college list then note that on top of your Common App essay, you’ll also have to respond to one of the 4 following supplemental essay prompts:

We would like to get a better sense of you. Please respond to one of the following prompts. (400 word limit)

Prompt 1

Human beings have a creative side that tends to shine most when we are truly invested in the world around us. Describe a situation when you responded effectively to a particular need and found yourself at your creative best.

TIP: First, let’s break down the prompt and see what the questions is really asking. The prompt wants the applicant to address three different topics—service, passion and creativity—and how they overlap and intertwine. And, they often do!

With this prompt, begin by asking yourself: how are you truly invested in the world around us? Put more simply, how have you contributed or impacted the world? Jot down some things that come to your head. Did anything on your list involve innovative or creative approaches?

You can also start by brainstorming different creative outlets you have. Do you notice a pattern of how you utilize your creative side? And remember, creative doesn’t just mean the arts. It’s also how you think outside the box and how flexible you are about approaching a problem.

Prompt 2

Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same?

TIP: Let’s break down this essay prompt as well. This prompt is multi-layered. First, it’s asking there is a person you look up to, or learned from. In other words, a role model or an inspiration to you. There is no right or wrong answer here; who you look up to is a personal choice, but you should choose carefully. What it can demonstrate is your knowledge in a particular field, your character and your critical thinking.

How? Because the prompt is also asking you why you look up to this person through an example from a recent event. What did he or she do to earn your following or understanding? This is where you can demonstrate your knowledge in a particular field and what your personal values are.

Finally, do you empathize with the difficult decisions he or she made? Is hindsight 20/20? By reflecting on this decision, what have you learned and could you have done something different that yielded a better result? You may not want to do anything different. The decision may not have resolved everything, which yielded mixed consequences but that could also have been the  best scenario given the circumstances.  This is how you’ll be able to display your critical thinking abilities.

Prompt 3

Boston College strives to provide an undergraduate learning experience emphasizing the liberal arts, quality teaching, personal formation, and engagement of critical issues. If you had the opportunity to create your own college course, what enduring question or contemporary problem would you address and why?

TIP: In a nutshell,, this question probes your intellectual curiosity. What class would you die to get into if you saw it on the curriculum? This is where you can show off a little bit about what you want to know and what you want to pursue.

The course can be something related to history that really fascinates you. For example, Adolf Hitler vs. Mao Zedong: The Psychology of World Leaders. This allows you to dive deep into your knowledge in history, if you’re a history buff, but also take a more creative approach of understanding history. Or the course can be more related to current events and developments: gender inequality, climate change, or artificial intelligence. Whatever it is, choose a topic where you can easily fill a whole page with questions you want answered!

Then reel it back in. Filter those questions and focus on the major ones. Why do you want to address these issues? Is there an application to the betterment of our future? How can you apply what you’ve learned in a classroom to the real world? Pull from real experiences you’ve encountered.

Prompt 4

Jesuit education stresses the importance of the liberal arts and sciences, character formation, commitment to the common good, and living a meaningful life. How do you think your personal goals and academic interests will help you grow both intellectually and personally during college?

TIP: There’s a lot going on in this essay prompt, but the main question here is simply: Why Boston College? The prompt asks you how BC’s jesuit education can help foster your personal goals and academic interests. To answer this, you’ll also need to have done your research into BC’s student and academic life, and what Jesuit education is. In the prompt itself, there are 4 key factors. Break them down and start from there.

Importance of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Why is a well-rounded education important to you? If you want to be a doctor, for example, maybe it’s having the knowledge of hard sciences, but also having an understanding of other cultures so you can empathize with  your patients and their family. Maybe it’s developing critical thinking skills through literature that you can apply to your desired profession.

Character Formation

Who are you? Who do you want to be? College is a supportive environment to help you figure out what you’re interested in and who you want to be. You can tie this to the importance of a well-rounded education on how your academics can have you search for your answer. The answer might also lie in the faculty and student body. How do students of different religious background all come together to learn at a Jesuit university? What new perspectives do they offer?

Commitment to the Common Good

If you’ve done any community service during high school, this is something you can plug in. Why was it apart of your high school life? Are you committed to continue those efforts at BC? It can be an extracurricular you can point to, but it can also be related to your studies and future endeavors. How do you want to impact the world and help people?

Living a Meaningful Life

What is a meaningful life to you? In other words, what do you value the most? What can’t you live without? This would be another opportunity for you to showcase how well you know the school. Are there student groups that help support and foster the things that are important to you? Or even in the city of Boston?

There is a 400 word limit so you can start by breaking the 4 key factors down and brainstorming each of them. Maybe you’ll find overlaps and can tie those values together. At the end of the day, remember to emphasize why this type of academic and personal development is best done at Boston College.

Applying to college?
View the app files and essays of accepted students.

We hope these tips are helpful as you work on your BC supplemental essays! Remember to look at your college application as a whole. What else have you not shown or discussed in your application? Based on that answer, choose the essay prompt that will allow you to divulge a different aspect of who you are.

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About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


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